My father before the Best Books Ever Written piece he inspired – Thank You Dad, acrylic, book covers, paper, oil crayon on canvas, 60″x136″, 2015 My dad represents what is right about America. Born to immigrant parents, he grew up poor in Miami, attended state college for a pittance, served in the Army, then started his climb up the professional mountain. He eventually started his own construction company, Florida Fill, and made a decent living until Florida’s whipsaw economy
You’re on a beach, beneath a coconut palm, sipping a cold juice, as you watch the antics of a pudgy naked baby digging in the sand and splashing at the water’s edge. It’s not your baby, but the pureness of the scene delights you at your core. I was that baby. Frolicking in the buttery waters of a small protected lagoon called Matheson Hammock in Miami. That joyful memory burned itself into my psyche, and I always dreamed that one day my own child would be that baby, shrieking
“Daddy, do babies have tiny nipples?” my 4-yo, Bodhi, asked me, lounging in a fresh pair of PJs. “Yes,” I answered from the couch, flipping through a magazine.
His thumb hovered just above his full lips, as he continued, “Do 2-yr-olds have bigger nipples than babies?”
“Yes,” I said.
“Do 3-yr-olds have bigger nipples than 2-yr-olds?”
“Do 4-yr-olds have bigger nipples than 3-yd-olds?” This earnest line of inquiry continued through 11-yr-olds, at which point, I belie
photo by Jenny Kaczorowski from WANA Commons We just finished bottle number two. Took us nearly ten years. Each drop another meal, another conversation, another spicy moment in the all-you-can-eat life buffet we opted to tackle together. And we’re talking the big bottles … not the little skinny ones you find in virtually any restaurant anywhere. BTW – I’m convinced Tabasco sauce is the single most successful product on earth, and the Mcilhennys who make it in Avery Island, Lo
The heavy-around-the-middle cop shut the front door behind himself, took a notepad from his shirt pocket and flipped it open. His gaze fell on me, crossed legged on the floor in tube socks, sneakers, a puffy little fro and a mouthful of silver braces. “I’m looking for these three people. Have any of you seen them?” he asked us. The third name was mine. The living room full of underage cigarette smokers, truants and long-hairs fell silent but for a ping-pong ball that bounced
Stuart Sheldon, Whirled Wide Whimsy, typewriter on paper, collage, poetry, 11-1/2″x8-1/4″, 2003 We embarked on a proper family brunch outing Sunday … just the four of us. En route, we bought assorted cupcakes for a friend with a new baby and grabbed a strawberry one with a mountain of vanilla frosting for us. I ambled ahead with Kai on my shoulders, grasping his piston-like ankles in a vain attempt to keep his sneakers from repeatedly banging me in the face. Swinging from his
Okaaaay, Chad. That’s certainly a measurable goal. For me, the goal wasn’t quite so dramatic. Coming on fifty, it’s about time to add more try to my tricep. And return the six-pack that’s inside my stomach to the outside. The only thing I’ve been lifting regularly the past few years is my young kids and forks filled with meatballs, both of which I very much love. Thing is, my kids keep getting heavier while my gluttony regimen does not seem to be making me any stronger. Which
Rocks, acrylic on cardboard, 2000 My dear friend, Joel (not his real name) is sober 41 days. There is a purity in his voice, a direct line to his raw-meat heart, free of nuance or subtext. Hearing this pure voice is like watching my sleeping 4-year old. Knee-bucklingly beautiful. In a recent rehab group discussion, Joel was asked,” Who Are You?” He told me he could not answer, because he truly does not know who he is. Joel has spent his whole life running away from who he is.
“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” Bern Williams Share this: Tweet Share on Tumblr Email #parenting #happiness #father #stuartsheldon #ALonelyFoolsMasterpiece #puppy #psychiatry
Stuart Sheldon, We Can’t Be Too Bold, acrylic and typing on Chinese funeral paper on panel, 12″x12″, 2003 “Are u happy, Daddy?” my then-3-year-old, Kai, asked a while back. The mere question impressed me … this mother of all questions … make that father. “I am happy,” I answered. “Why?” Another superb question. “Because I like my life.” Put it on my tombstone. That was the entirety of our exchange. I asked Kai that question several times since, and his answer is always this
Today is my birthday. But the more auspicious event was yesterday – my 7th anniversary. For a guy who didn’t get the marriage thing right until he was 40, this is a big deal. Wool and copper? Not the most obvious of symbols for a longstanding love affair. But, when I really thought about it, the meaning emerged. Wool is warm and safe, a haven from the menacing elements. Jodi and I have been and are each other’s haven in the eyes of our storms. It is soft and cozy, a place to
My kids are 4 and 2. All I want, like any parent, is their happiness … and success. But I’ll take happiness over success every time. Some would argue that success and happiness are synonymous. I strongly disagree, because we have perverted the definition of success. In fact, success for children often precludes happiness these days. Because it is based on the college you get into, the resume you compile and the comaprative advantage you possess to get a good job. And I’m talk
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. Author unknown Let me be clear. Being a father is by far my greatest achievement, and my two sons are the yardstick by which I measure my value as a person. My love for them transcends any emotion I have ever known. It is love that hurts and tickles deep in my solar plexus. This is not an indictment of fatherhood. Fatherhood is my essence. No, this is a celebration of motherhood. I did it for m